I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was 18 years old, finally putting a name to the shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, hot flashes, and bouts of dread I experience somewhat regularly. Since then, I've been on the hunt for rituals to relieve these symptoms, and after much trial and error, I've found a few that work. These include getting enough sleep every night (six to eight hours is nonnegotiable), spending time outdoors every day (even if it's just five to 10 minutes at a time), and being open and honest with my friends and family whenever my anxiety peaks (this one is key). These habits, in combination with a low dose of anxiety medication, have allowed me to keep my anxiety in check for many years now.
Instead of falling down a rabbit hole of worry, I acknowledge a stressful thought for what it is, steady myself, and try to move on.
But there's always rooms for improvement. My anxiety may never go away, but I try to focus on quieting the buzzing in my mind and body as much as possible. So, for years, I've tried (and failed) to commit to a meditation practice. You see, I've read all about how meditation can ease anxiety and even help you feel sharper and more focussed during the day. Yet I've never been able to really meditate. Sure, I've done my fair share of flitting between meditation apps and testing out different techniques, but I rarely settled on one, and if I did, I was never able to keep up with it long-term. That is, until I tried the Unplug Meditation app.
The app is an extension of the popular mediation studio under the same name, and it costs just $8 a month after a seven-day free trial. The app's budget-friendly price and stellar reviews drew me in, and after weeks of consistent use, I can honestly say I'm much better off than I was before. Not only do I feel less anxious than when I started, but I also have more control over my thoughts; instead of falling down a rabbit hole of worry, I acknowledge a stressful thought for what it is, steady myself, and try to move on. And that's really the goal of meditation, right? So I feel seriously accomplished.
I've been trying to figure out why I like this particular app so much, because like I said before, I tried my fair share in the past. I think it comes down to two things: the design of the app and the content. I like that the visuals are bright, clean, and easy to navigate. There's nothing overwhelming or complicated about the app from a visual standpoint. As for the latter, the content ranges from beginner to advanced meditations, and they're sorted by topic. So, depending on your goals, you can choose from meditations for anxiety, sleep, work, travel, healthy eating, and more. Even if alleviating my anxiety is my main goal, I find this variety of content super helpful in other areas of my life, too.
I also like that you can choose a meditation based on its length. The app sorts them into categories for when you have five minutes, 10 minutes, and so on. Some days, I just don't have time for a hour-long meditation, which is why I've dropped other apps and meditation practices in the past. That won't happen with this one, though.
I usually stick to a 10- or 15-minute meditation, although I'm hoping to increase my time as I continue with my practice. And while I'm currently meditating in the late afternoon, my goal is to eventually make time for it every morning. (After all, meditation seems like a calmer, more productive way to start the day than hitting the snooze button.) Trust me when I say that I never thought I'd be a meditation person, but here I am — a true believer.